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Meet Ashley: from lawyer to Software Engineer at the H&M Group

Discover Ashley's inspiring journey, from being a lawyer in the UK to becoming a Software Engineer at the H&M Group in Stockholm, Sweden.

Hi Ashley! Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Ashley Collins, I’m 35 years old. I’m originally from England. I started the Web Development course in Stockholm in October 2020.

What’s your background?

Before Le Wagon’s coding bootcamp, I was working in the UK, as a solicitor for 9 years. I was specialized in occupational diseases, representing companies to determine whether the employee had been neglected.

What made you want to enroll in Le Wagon’s Coding Bootcamp?

I wanted to change my career, go into the tech industry. I researched the best course to learn coding within 3 months. Le Wagon had the best reviews. I was very confident! Only in Stockholm. First choice.

What was the experience like?

I never learned so much in such a short time, and I’m saying that from a lawyer’s perspective. Before joining Le Wagon, I knew very little about coding, almost nothing, to be honest; the prep-work was my first deep dive into the science. After 9 weeks, I had created a website on my own. And right after graduating, I worked on creating one for my wife’s activity. I was so satisfied with the outcomes! I’m very satisfied with the learning process and the way we did it, having Meditation sessions every day really helped me keep a balance and stay positive.

What was the most rewarding part of the bootcamp? The most challenging?

The most rewarding was definitely during the last 2 weeks when my team and I were working on creating our own application. It was so satisfying and gratifying to see how fast we went from the idea to the concrete and actual product.

The most challenging was the first week. As I mentioned, my knowledge of coding was very limited! I had no background at all. On the second day, we started digging in, I remember telling myself “okay, this is going to be intense! I’m really gonna have to work hard!” I wasn’t picking up as quickly as some others, or as I wish I would but not once I had wanted to give up. I was very lucky to share the experience with such a supportive team and group of people.

What was your team like and what was your project?

The team was fantastic! I worked on my final project with Joao and Laszlow. GetHome was the name of our application. If you would have driven to a party and decided to drink, someone would come and drive you home in your car. It’s basically a designated driver version of Uber.

We collaborated really well, by focusing on our strengths. Joao was more back-end, Laslow was front-end, I went between the 2. I was so happy we had the ability to collaborate on campus, while all other teams in the world were remote.

Did you come to the bootcamp with ideas about where your career was heading?

I was really open, I knew I wanted to get into the tech market, but I had no idea about what to do.
People around me were surprised and shocked. But once again, I was very well surrounded: my friends and family were very supportive. If they wouldn’t have been there, I possibly wouldn’t have done it.

Do you think it’s important to learn to code?

Even if it’s not for a complete career change, I think learning to code is very helpful! After Covid, technology is becoming even more crucial to understand, even if it’s just for the basics. I mean, working in a company, you want to know what goes behind the screen, having that knowledge is a strength to understand the business better!

What do you want to learn more about now?

I want to keep on learning as much as I can, get better at coding. AI is a big thing, and I would be interested in digging into this topic as well.

What’s for you after Le Wagon?

I’m now a Consultant Software Engineer at the H&M Group. I am currently doing an accelerated learning program, to get familiar with all the internal processes.

Right after graduating, I started looking for jobs and I found the ad on LinkedIn, a week after DemoDay. The hiring process started the process right after I applied, and the last week of January got the answer. I was starting the program! I was very proud and happy, it was definitely risky but calculated right!

Any advice to potential applicants?

Do the prep-work, keep your head up, it can get difficult. The first 3 weeks are the hardest. Get through it with confidence and an open mind and you’ll be fine. Keep positive!

Any advice to another student looking for a job?

KEEP POSITIVE! Keep coding. Get GitHub looking as good as possible. Keep your mind open!

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